See Saturn shine in Sagittarius

By | Published: September 6, 2018 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
The Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Saturn eclipsing the Sun in 2013. Earth, Venus, and Mars are all visible in the background.
Saturn appears nearly due south and at its highest altitude as darkness falls in early September. 

The ringed planet shines at magnitude 0.4, more than a full magnitude brighter than any of the background stars in its host constellation, Sagittarius. 

Saturn’s slow westward motion against this rich Milky Way backdrop comes to a halt today. 

Center the planet in your binoculars and you’ll see the Lagoon Nebula (M8) 2.2° to the southwest and the Trifid Nebula (M20) 1.7° to the west-southwest. But the best views come through a telescope. Even the smallest instrument shows Saturn’s 17″-diameter disk surrounded by a dramatic ring system that spans 39″ and tilts 27° to our line of sight.